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#394526 - Sat Mar 07 2009 08:20 AM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
Leau Offline
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Quote:

Also, and I've never seen it done this way before, but my dialogue punctuation was changed as well: I had (with an obvious word change ), "Blah blah blah," the man said. That was changed to, "Blah blah blah", the man said.




That is the same thing, it doesn't matter whether it's dialogues or not, the punctuation always goes outside the quoted part. Not just in British English, but also in e.g. Dutch and German and I assume many other languages.


Quote:

And then some of the editors are like you, Leau, they don't change a thing. I understand that some have their own personal pet peeves, just like I do, but it sure makes things confusing when I write how I'm used to and it gets changed to a way that just looks "wrong" to me.




It could be that those editors were raised with the BE punctuation rules and simply weren't aware of the fact that there are different rules for AE. I am not a native speaker of English, and while I have been taught BE in school and the BE punctuation rules make much more sense to me because they're similar to the Dutch rules, I have also learnt in school that AE has different rules. We were basically allowed to pick which convention and spelling we used.

Somehow I don't think British school will teach their pupils the rules for AE as they would likely never need those.
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#394527 - Sat Mar 07 2009 08:22 AM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
shuehorn Offline
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Registered: Tue Jul 04 2006
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Loc: Lawrenceville Georgia�USA�...
Actually, in other languages, the punctuation also goes outside of the quotes. Just one more area in which the American variety of English is "special." Keeps things interesting!

Sue (a US citizen who has lived all over the world)
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#394528 - Sat Mar 07 2009 09:25 AM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
guitargoddess Offline
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I think I must have been taught a combination of British-American English, lol. Or perhaps it that I simulataneously learned English and French, and it's the French I'm thinking of that's differnent.

The only case where punctuation outside of the quotation looks weird to me is in dialogue.

"What time is the movie?" Fred asked.

"What time is the movie"? Fred asked.

Actually they both look a little awkward to me right now, but to me the one with the question mark inside the quotation makes more sense because it goes with the phrase . The whole thing is a question... Hmm I don't know now. I can't say I've ever really noticed the difference when I'm reading a book or anything, and I haven't written dialogue myself in ages. When I'm writing (like in academic papers) I do tend to follow the British rules, I think. Once though, I had marks taken off a paper I wrote with British spellings (like 'specialise' instead of 'specialize' or something like that) because it was on an American topic!
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#394529 - Sat Mar 07 2009 09:30 AM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
Leau Offline
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Registered: Sun Jun 16 2002
Posts: 5337
Loc: Nijmegen/Brisbane
Quote:

The only case where punctuation outside of the quotation looks weird to me is in dialogue.

"What time is the movie?" Fred asked.

"What time is the movie"? Fred asked.





Not sure about English, but in Dutch that sentence should be

"What time is the movie?", Fred asked.

So with an extra comma as punctuation for the sentence, and the question mark as the punctuation of the question Fred asked.
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#394530 - Sat Mar 07 2009 09:38 AM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
agony Offline

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Loc: Western Canada
If it were possible here to italicize the titles, this wouldn't come up. The quotation marks are there to set the title apart, and since the punctuation of the surrounding sentence is not part of the title, it does not belong in the quotes.

You're right that in American English, periods and commas do go inside the quotation marks. I'm probably one of the editors who changes this, because it just looks so strange to me, and seems to have no justification. I'll try to let it go, just like I let all those "incorrect" American spellings go, from now on.

And, by the way - do any Americans know the reasoning behind this rule, which seems so counterintuitive to me?

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#394531 - Sat Mar 07 2009 09:51 AM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
dg_dave Offline
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Registered: Sun Oct 05 2003
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Quote:

And, by the way - do any Americans know the reasoning behind this rule, which seems so counterintuitive to me?




I'm wondering if it's the same reason a lot of words had their spellings changed. Other than that, I'm not sure.
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#394532 - Sat Mar 07 2009 11:14 AM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
guitargoddess Offline
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Quote:

Quote:

The only case where punctuation outside of the quotation looks weird to me is in dialogue.

"What time is the movie?" Fred asked.

"What time is the movie"? Fred asked.





Not sure about English, but in Dutch that sentence should be

"What time is the movie?", Fred asked.

So with an extra comma as punctuation for the sentence, and the question mark as the punctuation of the question Fred asked.




Ohh, okay that makes more sense. I haven't taken English grammar since like 7th grade. I guess after that the school system assumed we knew enough
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#394533 - Sat Mar 07 2009 11:42 AM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
darthrevan89 Offline
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Registered: Tue May 13 2008
Posts: 760
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Quote:

"What time is the movie?" Fred asked.




Guitargoddess, I think this is how would be in American English, since the question mark is the closing punctuation of the spoken sentence.

Quote:

I'm probably one of the editors who changes this, because it just looks so strange to me, and seems to have no justification.




Actually, agony, on the quizzes of mine that you've edited you didn't change them. I appreciate your accommodating us backwards Americans!

Quote:

Do any Americans know the reasoning behind this rule, which seems so counterintuitive to me?




I found several references online to why this was done. Something picked up by Americans related to manual typesetting, and the periods and commas tending to fall off or get cut off when they were out to the side. The British apparently just put up with it, but over here they decided to neatly tuck them inside the quotation marks. And it apparently stuck, becoming a rule of grammar.

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#394534 - Sat Mar 07 2009 12:21 PM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
jonnowales Offline
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Registered: Mon Oct 30 2006
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As far as I am aware, in BE it would also be:

"What time is the movie?", Fred asked.

AE rules don't make sense to me with punctuation inside a quote. Take for example:

Who played Rose Dawson in "Titanic," a love film with a nautical theme set in 1912?

--- To me that means the film is called Titanic, not Titanic.

But hey, I like quirky!

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#394535 - Sat Mar 07 2009 12:50 PM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
veronikkamarrz Offline
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On About.com, it says that if the punctuation is part of the quote, it goes INSIDE. If the punctuation is yours, it goes OUTSIDE.
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#394536 - Sat Mar 07 2009 01:24 PM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
kyleisalive Offline
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Registered: Mon Mar 07 2005
Posts: 7989
Loc: Toronto, Canada, eh!
Quote:

On About.com, it says that if the punctuation is part of the quote, it goes INSIDE. If the punctuation is yours, it goes OUTSIDE.




This is exactly what I tell people. If I see it the other way in a quiz, I will change it.
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#394537 - Sat Mar 07 2009 02:47 PM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
darthrevan89 Offline
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Registered: Tue May 13 2008
Posts: 760
Loc: Texas USA
I'm not usually one to argue , but some of you might find these interesting reading.

http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/quotes.asp
http://grammartips.homestead.com/inside.html
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/GRAMMAR/marks/quotation.htm
http://www.friends.edu/CurrentStudents/WritingCenter/pdf/Punctuating%20Quotes.pdf
http://editing.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_punctuate_quotations

Confusing, eh? Granted, I'm not saying these sites (nor about.com) are the equal in reliability to an English textbook. But despite claims of illogicality, I do feel quite justified (as an American) in placing the punctuation inside quotation marks. If you're wondering by now, OCD runs in my family, don't take anything I say personally.

Do you editors have a problem with my continuing to write this way? Or do you suggest I conform to logic? (hey, I never claimed to be Vulcan )

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#394538 - Sat Mar 07 2009 04:45 PM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
trident Offline
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Registered: Sun Feb 20 2005
Posts: 2990
Loc: Wisconsin USA
If both are correct, I don't think anyone will really challenge you on it. If I see something as small an issue as that, I usually just fix it/change it myself. I wouldn't really be too worried if an editor changes something like that as well.

I know from school that conventions such as those differ from one form of citation to another in the different fields and disciplines. I don't think we're too concerned with keeping faithfully to the highest academic standards, so there's no real sweat if you do it either way.

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#394539 - Sun Mar 08 2009 04:35 AM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
The_lioness33 Offline
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Registered: Sat Feb 25 2006
Posts: 2869
Loc: Adelaide SouthAustralia
Quote:

On About.com, it says that if the punctuation is part of the quote, it goes INSIDE. If the punctuation is yours, it goes OUTSIDE.




I was taught that if the quoted thing is a title, the punctuation goes outside.
On the weekend I read 'Pride and Prejudice'.

If it is speech then all puctuation goes inside.
'That's nice,' he said.

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#394540 - Sun Mar 08 2009 07:19 AM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
jmorrow Offline
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Registered: Wed Oct 08 2008
Posts: 1458
Loc: Singapore
I had the same experience as lioness - not sure if I was taught some hybrid of the American and British conventions!

I must say that this has been a very interesting thread to follow.

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#394541 - Sun Mar 08 2009 07:37 AM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
skunkee Offline
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Registered: Thu Oct 16 2003
Posts: 10550
Loc: Burlington OntarioCanada
Conventions for punctuation vary around the world, and even from area to area within the same country. This is the reason why we do not allow FITB answers that contain punctuation.
At FunTrivia, the convention we prefer is the one stated above by Leau, if the punctuation applies to the quote it goes inside the quotation mark, if it doesn't, then it goes outside. We prefer it this way and we prefer not to make a huge issue of it, which is why a lot of us simply make the changes ourselves.
To me it makes more sense. In the sentence 'He starred in "Jaws".' the period is outside of the quotation mark encompassing the title because it closes the sentence, not the movie title.

It's much the same thing with putting titles in quotation marks. We use this convention to distinguish the title from the surrounding text. Some places use italics to do the same thing, others place the title entirely in caps. We prefer that our convention be used.
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#394542 - Sun Mar 08 2009 11:34 AM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
Snowman Offline
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Registered: Wed Oct 31 2007
Posts: 1613
Loc: London EnglandUK
As far as I am aware, in British English the only punctuation that goes inside of quotation marks would be a) when the punctuation is part of the phrase quoted (e.g. the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?") and b) when the quotation marks are around speech (e.g. "It was a good day," said Ice Cube. or As Ice Cube proclaimed, "It was a good day.")

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#394543 - Sun Mar 08 2009 12:40 PM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
darthrevan89 Offline
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Registered: Tue May 13 2008
Posts: 760
Loc: Texas USA
Quote:

It's much the same thing with putting titles in quotation marks. We use this convention to distinguish the title from the surrounding text. Some places use italics to do the same thing, others place the title entirely in caps. We prefer that our convention be used.




I've noticed in the books & magazines I've read since opening this discussion, when words/names are italicized with a comma directly next to them, the commas are italicized as well. I suppose this is a "dumb" Americanism also?

I'm sorry to hear that I cannot write the way I know is correct for my locality - I found it interesting to learn of other countries' ways of punctuating, kind of a shame to discriminate. Call it melodrama, or overreacting, I may get over it, but my enthusiasm for quiz writing has waned greatly.

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#394544 - Sun Mar 08 2009 12:48 PM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
queproblema Offline
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Registered: Mon Sep 25 2006
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Loc: Kenny Lake AlaskaUSA
So, the consensus among the quiz editors, who, interestingly enough, happen to be mainly from the UK, Canada, and Australia, is to hew to BE rules when there's reason to care.

Did I follow correctly?

I don't even write quizzes. But I am a little fussy, or shall we say, tend to focus on trivia!

Just a note--I've been reading a book by Margaret Thatcher, who would be sure to make precious few grammatical errors, and any she might make would be caught by her editors. I'm constantly being jarred by the odd rhythm of her sentences because they omit so many commas I consider necessary. Ex.:

"Russia too has a strong interest in America's building such a system."

Americans would set off the "too" with commas.

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#394545 - Sun Mar 08 2009 02:17 PM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
Leau Offline
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Registered: Sun Jun 16 2002
Posts: 5337
Loc: Nijmegen/Brisbane
Quote:

So, the consensus among the quiz editors, who, interestingly enough, happen to be mainly from the UK, Canada, and Australia, is to hew to BE rules when there's reason to care.

Did I follow correctly?




I'm only speaking for myself here but I just go with whatever convention the quiz author has followed. If the quotations are one big mess, don't seem to follow any rule system at all and I have to change them anyway, I go with the BE rules simply because I know them best.
I have to add though that I don't edit in Movies, Television or Literature where I'm sure a lot more quote issues come up than in the categories I edit in.

For the record, by the way, I am not British, nor Canadian, nor Australian. I'm Dutch. And we do have a large number of American quiz editors.
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#394546 - Sun Mar 08 2009 02:20 PM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
Leau Offline
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Registered: Sun Jun 16 2002
Posts: 5337
Loc: Nijmegen/Brisbane
Quote:

I've noticed in the books & magazines I've read since opening this discussion, when words/names are italicized with a comma directly next to them, the commas are italicized as well. I suppose this is a "dumb" Americanism also?




I hope I didn't give you the impression the American rules for quotations are dumb. They might seem illogical to me but I realise they're just as valid to you and other Americans as "my" rules are to me.
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#394547 - Sun Mar 08 2009 04:34 PM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
darthrevan89 Offline
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Registered: Tue May 13 2008
Posts: 760
Loc: Texas USA
Quote:

I hope I didn't give you the impression the American rules for quotations are dumb. They might seem illogical to me but I realise they're just as valid to you and other Americans as "my" rules are to me.




No, not at all, Leau - and thank you for saying that. I'd be the first to admit that English in general is one wacky language. I don't know why this bugs me so much, possibly because I'm a neat freak. Just as some have said the AE rules don't make sense, to me the BE rules in regard to quotations are just plain messy.

By the way, which categories do you edit in, Leau?

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#394548 - Sun Mar 08 2009 07:36 PM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
Taesma Offline
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What's odd to me is that I was born and raised here in the U.S., never been out of the country actually, but I must have been taught the BE punctuation my whole life. It looks utterly wrong to me to put the punctuation inside of the quote unless it is directly a part of the thing being quoted. To do it the way Darthrevan does seems counter intuitive to me.
But then, it doesn't surprise me that the American rules seem to be a bit "flexible". Kind of the spirit of the country to do things differently than the rest of the world. Just to be contrary sometimes, I think,
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#394549 - Mon Mar 09 2009 12:20 AM Re: Grammar, spacing, quotations - right and wrong
Leau Offline
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Quote:

By the way, which categories do you edit in, Leau?




World and Hobbies.
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